In December, Anita Hill was selected to lead a Hollywood commission on sexual harassment. Today the LA Times reports that leaders of conservative women’s groups are asking the commission to remove Hill because of her past support for Bill Clinton:
Five prominent conservative women have called on leaders of the Time’s Up anti-sexual misconduct movement to replace Anita Hill as head of a commission on sexual harassment in Hollywood because of comments she once made about former President Clinton.
Led by Penny Nance, president and chief executive of Concerned Women, a socially conservative public policy organization, the women charged that, in a 1998 interview with the late Tim Russert on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Hill appeared to defend Clinton’s inappropriate behavior toward women and dismiss allegations made by his accusers…
In an email, Nance said Hill’s appointment had made the panel “a political club,” rather than a bipartisan effort. “Hill is not trusted by conservative women,” she said. “Hollywood had the opportunity to own their sin and clean up their mess but instead chose to make political points. That’s disappointing. They should replace Hill.”
The interview Nance is pointing to as proof that Hill defended Bill Clinton took place in 1998. Hill was discussing the allegation of sexual harassment by Kathleen Willey, who claimed that in 1993 Clinton had kissed her and groped her breast in a room off the Oval Office. Hill didn’t argue that the incident didn’t happen but that the behavior wasn’t “pervasive enough that it became a condition of her employment.” (Note: the LA Times doesn’t identify the specific incident but in the video they link to, Hill mentions Willey by name.)
Hill went on to say, “I think we have to evaluate it not on the basis of whether it’s sexual harassment, but evaluate it on the basis of what we would like to see in terms of the behavior and the moral decisions and judgments of the president.” Referencing an article by Gloria Steinem, Hill added, “I think what Ms. Steinem also said was we have to look at the totality of the presidency and how has he been on women’s issues generally. Is he our best bet, notwithstanding some behavior that we might dislike?
“I don’t think that most women have come to the point where we’ve said, ‘Well this is so bad that, even if he’s better on the bigger issues, we can’t have him as president.'”
That’s obviously not what many women (and men) are saying now about President Trump with regard to allegations of harassment made against him. I seriously doubt the progressives in Hollywood will be too concerned about this obvious double-standard. This is another chance to poke conservatives in the eye even as they try to clean up the toxic culture created in their own backyard.
Of course, there is one simple way Hill could put this behind her if she really cared to do so. She could admit she was wrong about Clinton. In fact, she could go beyond that and point out that he probably shouldn’t have been our president or, at a minimum, should have resigned once the blue dress was revealed. That’s what Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said back in November.
Here’s the clip of Hill’s 1998 interview: